Below you’ll find an overview of diamond characteristics and learn how these characteristics affect overall appearance. Every diamond is unique and features qualities that appeal differently from one buyer to the next. Once you’ve learned all the facets of your perfect stone we’re sure you’ll be able to buy with confidence.

 

Diamond Shapes

 All diamond shapes have a distinctive style. It is important to decide what shape is right for you.

 


Round

The round brilliant cut diamond is clean & classic making it the most popular diamond shape. It's brilliance is intensified by its cut which is determined by scientific calculations that expert diamond cutters use creating a better cut, symmetry, and polish. This makes all round diamonds appear even more brilliant.


Princess

The princess cut has pointed corners and is square in shape with 90-degree corners. The unique cut is an excellent way to acquire the brilliance and simple elegance of the round.

 

Cushion

Cushion-cut diamonds combine a square cut with rounded corners(often referred to as "pillow cut"). It has larger facets to increase their brilliance which highlights the diamond's clarity.

 

Marquise

A marquise diamond's shape can maximize carat weight, giving you a much larger-looking diamond. The length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender.

 

Emerald

It is the only diamond cut that has elongated facets on both the crown and pavilion. This creates a unique visual look that is referred to as a "sleeping giant." Due to its larger, open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond. Emerald cut diamonds can vary greatly in how rectangular they are.

 

Radiant

A square or rectangular-shape with trimmed corners, it combines the brilliance and depth of the round, emerald and princess cuts. It is the most brilliant of all the squared shapes.

 

Asscher

The asscher  is comparable to the emerald cut, except that it is square. This shape's crown and pavilion is cut with rectangular facets similar to the emerald cut. It creates a timeless look.

 

Oval

The oval's  brilliance is similar to a round diamond. It is also a popular shape because the length can give the appearance of  longer and slimmer fingers.

 

Pear

The pear shape is also referred to as a teardrop because of its single point and rounded end. It can come in a range of slim to wide cuts.

 

THE FOUR Cs

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the 4Cs of Diamond Quality to act as a universal language for diamond buying. Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight are the standard method for judging a stone’s quality.

Cut

While you might think cut refers to a diamond’s shape, it really relates how the stone’s facets interact with light. This interaction makes cut perhaps the most important characteristic when choosing a diamond because it’s responsible for that eye-catching sparkle. When a diamond is cut with proper proportions, light from the top of the stone is glitteringly reflected back. Cut the stone too shallow and light will escape from the bottom; cutting your stone too deep results in losing light from the sides.

The only of the 4Cs directly controlled by man, cut is also the most complex and technically difficult to analyze. The diamond cut scale for standard round brilliant cut stones features five grades from excellent to fair.

 

Excellent - Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. An exquisite and rare cut.

Very Good - Less light reflected than an excellent cut. A more affordable, yet still beautiful stone.

Good - Reflects most light. Much less expensive than a very good cut.

Fair - Noticeably less brilliant. Still can be a quality diamond.

Poor - Most light lost from the sides or bottom of stone.

 

Color

Color is generally considered the second most important consideration after cut when selecting a diamond. In reality, diamonds are actually rated by an absence of color. Think of a diamond as a drop of pure water, those of the highest grade – and higher value – have no hue and are chemically pure and structurally perfect. Diamonds on the other end of the spectrum have a distinct yellow look; however most stones fall somewhere in the middle and feature very subtle variation.

Diamond color is graded on a D (colorless) to Z scale. Only 1% of diamonds can be considered truly colorless, D stones. Stones graded J or better are considered colorless or near-colorless with color that is usually undetectable to the naked eye.


D - Absolutely colorless: The highest color grade, extremely rare.

E - Colorless: Minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. A rare diamond.

F - Colorless: Slight color detected by a gemologist, but still a “colorless” grade. A high quality diamond.

G - H - Near colorless: Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades. Offers excellent value.

I - J - Near colorless: An excellent value with slightly detectable warmth or tone.

K - M - Faint yellow.

N - Z - Very light to light yellow.

 

Clarity

Clarity refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that occur in diamonds. Known as inclusions or blemishes these microscopic flaws result from the extreme heat and pressure that turn carbon to diamonds. Since most imperfections are small, they generally have little to no discernible affect on a diamond’s beauty to the naked eye. 

While multiple scales exist, the most widely accepted standard for clarity grading was developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Featuring a greater number of classifications than most, it is considered the strictest grading system.

 

IF - No inclusions visible at 10x

VVS1 - Minute inclusions; extremely difficult to see at 10x

VVS2 - Minute inclusions; very difficult to see at 10x

VS1 - Minor inclusions; difficult to see face-up at 10x

VS2 - Minor inclusions; somewhat easy to see face-up at 10x

SI1 - Noticeable inclusions; easy to see at 10x

SI2 - Noticeable inclusions; very easy to see at 10x

I1 - Obvious inclusions at 10x; visible to the unaided eye

I2 - Obvious inclusions; easily visible to the unaided eye

I3 - Prominent inclusions

Carat Weight

Contrary to what you may think, carats are in fact measures of weight, not size. This means that diamonds of the same size can actually have different carat weights based on their proportions and densities. Measured in increments called points, 100 points is the same as 1 carat; 1 carat is also equal to 200 milligrams.

Since carat weight isn’t necessarily the best indicator of a diamond’s size, it is important to consider other factors such as cut, shape and setting when choosing a stone. These factors often have a greater effect not only on a diamond’s price, but also on its overall look and appearance of size.   

While the 4Cs aren’t the only essentials to consider when buying a diamond they serve as a pretty good place to start. With an understanding of the basics, an idea of what appeals to you and the careful guidance of a diamond expert you can confidently select the stone that’s perfect for you.